Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:
Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail on branding state:
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is West Virginia's CEO, and he's spent a lot of his time as governor "selling" West Virginia to investors, both foreign and domestic.
It's not an easy job. As the Daily Mail's Joel Ebert reported last week, it involves a lot of travel, meetings and negotiation to make these trade missions a success.
But Tomblin's administration has been successful in attracting foreign investors to West Virginia and maintaining relationships with foreign-based companies already here. Investments linked to trade trips to Japan and Europe over the past two years have greatly exceeded the costs of those trips, according to media reports.
"When you look at what these trips cost compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars of investments, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to say they're not worthwhile," Tomblin spokesman Chris Stadelman told The Charleston Gazette.
West Virginia has enjoyed a successful, lengthy business relationship with Japan in particular. Since the first time Sen. Jay Rockefeller met with Toyota officials in the 1990s until now, West Virginia has been successful in wooing several Japanese companies, mostly auto parts manufacturers, leading to investment from some European-based auto part manufacturers as well. State officials are still working with Brazilian company Odebrecht in hopes of bringing an ethane cracker plant to the Wood County area.
American companies like Macy's and Procter and Gamble have seen the benefits of locating in West Virginia, too.
Meanwhile, some of the state's small businesses are continuing to expand their foreign exports, selling their products to many countries across the globe, including parts of Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
Without these trade missions, people outside of West Virginia may not know what we have to offer. Meeting face-to-face with foreign business leaders and government officials establishes a connection that's hard to beat. Having that sort of close relationship is beneficial to all parties involved, as Rockefeller demonstrated in his friendship with Shoichiro Toyoda, former chairman of Toyota Motor Corp.
"People will not find us with us sitting behind our desks in Charleston," state Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette told Ebert. "You've got to be seen. You've got to be aggressive."
A lot of people outside of West Virginia have a misconstrued image of who and what we are. Our government and business official must continue to work hard to change those misconceptions and draw business to our great state.
The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia, on going green:
Whatever your beliefs about climate change, EPA over-reach or the use of fossil fuels, there is one thing we all should be able to agree on. Our world is becoming more populous every second of every day.
In 2010, 6.9 billion souls roamed this planet. In just 25 years, population growth experts say it will balloon to 9.6 billion, a 38 percent increase, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and reported by the Pew Research Center. Numbers in the United States are projected to expand from 312 million in 2010 to 401 million in 2050, the report says.
During those 25 years, India is expected to surpass China as the most populous nation. As population surges, more sidewalks to walk on, the need will come for more vehicles, more places to park them, more roads on which to run them. Building new car parks and highways bring challenges to our environment as much as carbon fuels. Terrain paved over allows runoff that can ultimately damage our waterways.
The surface of a parking lot is known as an impermeable surface, which is simply defined by Merriam-Webster as "not allowing something (such as a liquid) to pass through." Applying the word to hardscape surfaces such as a parking lot, it means that rainfall that would normally be absorbed by tree canopy, soil and grass cannot be absorbed. That also means that anything on the hard, impermeable lot — dirt, chemicals and the like — is washed off and into creeks, streams and, ultimately, in to our rivers. But something that can be done to mitigate that is being tried out right here in little ol' Beckley, West Virginia.
The Raleigh County Commission on Aging utilized "green" thinking with its recent construction of a "permeable" parking lot.
Going back to Merriam-Webster, permeable's definition is "having pores or openings that permit liquids or gases to pass through." And that is just what the new lot does.
Divided into two sections, one the standard impermeable, the other permeable, the differences seem nearly noticeable at first. But upon closer inspection, you will see it. The impermeable side is slick and shiny; the permeable side is bumpy and porous. The former has a top coat of sealant; the latter does not. And that is what allows rain to seep slowly through its surface and infiltrate the ground or run across the back of the lot into a basin.
It's simple, isn't it. Honestly, aren't most things that are beneficial?
The Beckley Sanitary Board told The Register-Herald that it loves seeing this sort of low-impact development. It encourages other business to think "greenly," while the board practices what it preaches. Rain gardens popping up around the city are part of that green thinking as are bioswales, landscape elements designed to remove pollution and sediments from surface runoff water.
Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, West Virginia, on e-recycling options:
You can call it the "velocity of obsolescence."
New innovations in communications and electronics are being developed at an ever faster pace. That means your old computer, cellphone or television becomes obsolete more quickly, too. That can be frustrating, but don't expect the pace to slow down.
The amount of electronics in the "waste stream" grows every year, and the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that in 2013 discarded TVs, computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, mice, keyboards, cellphones and other electronics totaled about 1.87 million short tons.
Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages of recycling all types of trash, but when it comes to electronics there are some particular concerns. Much of this equipment contains toxic materials, from lead and nickel to cadmium and mercury.
When we dump those items in the landfill - or even worse, on the side of the road - those metals can eventually cause problems for water sources and the environment. Moreover, it takes a lot of energy and raw materials to reproduce those components for new devices.
Recovering those metals and engineered plastics from old stuff makes a lot of sense. For example, the EPA estimates that recycling a million laptops saves energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,600 homes in a year.
So, properly recycling electronics is not only a good idea, but many states now insist on it. In 2010, the West Virginia General Assembly passed a bill banning electronics from landfills, and local officials got to work on providing alternatives for disposal.
Over the past few years, the Cabell County Solid Waste Authority has staged events periodically to help residents get rid of their old electronics, and an "e-recycling" drop-off is planned this coming Saturday at the Kroger Supermarket at 2627 5th Ave. in Huntington. Organizers promise to accept "anything with a cord," but old TV sets are limited to one per valid driver's license.
Meanwhile, other outlets for recycling electronics have opened, too. Both Best Buy and Lowe's have E-Cycling programs, as do Goodwill Industries and Adkins Recycling. Check the Solid Waste Authority's website, http://www.ccswa.us, for more information on those.
If it is time to say goodbye to that old computer or TV set, take advantage of one of these programs and properly recycle it.